Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Risk of Adventure

There's only one or two things that beat a good night's sleep. I leave it to others to fill in the rest of that aphorism. Last night I had a good night's sleep here in Gaspè, Quebec. My arrival, late last night, was not according to plan. Of course, given the complete lack of planning involved in this trip, it would be pure hubris to say anything had gone according to plan or not. I am simply here and awake. This is a good way to start any day.

Yesterday I took the ferry from Baie-Comeau to Matane on the Gaspè. My thought had been to stop and stay there in a local hotel. The hotel had one wheelchair room and it was occupied. They had other rooms with easy access but their idea of easy access was across a lawn, up a 2" step and steep ramp. I declined, thinking I would stay in the next town up the road.

That fateful decision lead to a couple of things which you could see as bad or good, depending on your sense of adventure. I choose good. First, it meant discovering the truth about not only the Gaspè but most small tourist regions. It has created a truism for me. All small motels have big stairs. That's all. From Matane to Gaspè I stopped at about 10 small, local motels and called about 20 others, some overlooking the sea, some overlooking the forest, some overlooking the highway. Many of them had ramps into the office; all of them had ledges, porches, steps or other such imprecation generating hurdles before the guest room door. Hour upon hour, village after village, mile after mile, motel after motel, all with stairs.

The next thing this did for me is enforce a night drive, prefaced by a sunset roll along the coast road of the Gaspè. This was a true wonderment, a show beyond all expectations. The road was smooth, clear and nearly empty. As the sun slowly settled in the west, it found it's recess in the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It's leisurely journey brought on a sunset of the purest hue, a gentle light seen through amber, throwing all of the water, the mountainsides, the trees, the rocks, the road itself into this scene of gold tinge, brightened by the soft setting sun. A single tincture, brushed surely by the hand of God, shaping a vision that I had never seen and may never see again

Then came the night, slowly through dusk and dark, and onward I drove. This too was a new creation of this amazing coast. Town after town, twinkling in their man-made starlight, seen afar round curves and capes as the highway winds, showed themselves distant and welcoming. Lighthouses, bright beacons for the sea, the holding posts of the heavens, rose up and shone their pharos out across the open water. Small boats and large, reds and greens dangling so near the cold seas as to seem near drowning, made their way into small, breakwatered harbours, ready to bring safely home those aboard. Each town had its harbour; each town had its lights; each town had its own picture to paint both in the late dusk and full darkness.

The road wove in and out, climbed up and down, rolled forth and back, sometimes so close to the sea that there were warning signs to alert motorists to the dangers of waves from a storm tossed sea that might come crashing onto and over the roadway. And in the end, the road brought me here.

Who needs a plan? I'll take the risk of adventure any day.

1 comment:

  1. You have written a sonnet Rick on the wonderments of the Gaspe.